I have been trying to find the perfect travel carryon for what feels like my entire adult life.
- The eggplant purple soft duffel that came with my luggage set is just too ugly. The small one with wheels broke years ago.
- My reversible navy/white striped beach tote is cute, but is too small and has no secure closure.
- My giant black and white tote is big enough, but has no secure closure – seriously! the gaping opening is saying “look at me!” to the nearest thieves and pickpockets.
- My work/laptop bag looks great and has plenty of pockets, but has no extra room for clothing storage.
So I’ve been looking around the internet for a while, reading reviews, looking at pictures, and calculating sizes. I checked overstock.com and ebags.com. Our couch and rug came from overstock and my work tote came from ebags, so I knew the reviews on the sites were reliable. But nothing really made me click “checkout”.
My primary considerations were as follows:
- real leather (brown or black were acceptable to me, colors or fake leather were not)
- generally classic style so I could use it for years
- secure closure (to prevent thieves)
- outside pocket for easy access to boarding pass
- small enough to walk down airplane aisles easily
- large enough to fit 3-7 days worth of clothing
- price range between $50 and $150
I was running out of places to look online, and running out of time to order it before my trip to St. Kitts. So today I decided to pop on over to Marshall’s while on my lunch break. I’ve had decent success buying leather items from Marshall’s before (the softest leather gloves, durable brown leather riding boots), so it was worth a try.
After looking at pretty much every bag they had (they were organized by color, but not by size, brand, price, or any other useful criteria), I just started feeling around with my hands. If my eyes couldn’t differentiate between 50 different black bags, perhaps my hands could.
As soon as I started paying attention to how the bags felt in my hands, instead of what they looked like, the selection appeared entirely differently. Some of them just felt cheap, like the fake leather would crack the first time I used it. Others were more of a coated canvas material, which I knew I didn’t want.
But then I felt something entirely different.
It was soft, supple, and smooth under my fingertips. If the other bags felt like polyester or plastic, this one felt like cashmere. I immediately pulled it out from behind 4 other bags, and took it out to get a better view.
I had found what I was waiting for! I couldn’t stop running my fingers over the leather – it felt so comfortable and well-worn despite being brand new. Honestly I wish there were a way to convey texture through the internet because you wouldn’t believe how good this leather feels!
The inside had a bright and cheery pattern, and the outside had a few well placed metal accents. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the price tag, at $169, but my fingers were doing all the deciding at that point. I bought it after double checking their return policy (30 days with the receipt), and I did some further comparison research to check the price.
Macy’s lists the original price at $358 and the sale price at $268! Loehmann’s is selling the red version for $209.99. Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about $169.
The size is perfect. The straps are long enough that the top of the bag sits between my elbow and my waist (I have a shorter torsoe than the figure in the image), so I would feel it if anyone tried to sneak in through the top of the bag. The bottom of the bag sits right around my hip. I can easily fit a three-day-weekend of bulky winter clothes, or a week+ of lightweight summer clothes in the bag. Most of my shoes are flats or flip-flops, so I could easily fit a couple pairs in the bottom without the bag bulging.
Initial verdict? Highly recommended. Also highly recommended by the random lady that came up to me in the store to say she had the same bag and LOVED it. I asked her about durability, and she said she hasn’t had any trouble with scratches or anything since she’s owned it (she has the red version).
I’ll be packing over the next couple weeks, in preparation for my trip, and I’ll post a final review once I get back. But after feeling the softness of this leather, the bag would have to grow legs and walk away in the airport for me to give it a negative review right now!
Do you have any awesome finds at stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or similar retailers? Tell me about them!